From the Untold Story of the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood to Caravaggio Meets Bernini, Here Are 13 Unmissable Museum Shows to See in Europe This Fall

Our guide to the best museums have to offer this season.

Elizabeth Siddal is the model in Ophelia by John Everett Millais, 1865-66. Private Collection.

There’s nothing like Europe in the fall. From Frieze in London to FIAC in Paris, there’s plenty of art-market action and, as the summer tourists leave town and the foliage outside begins its colorful transformation, the season provides the perfect setting to take in the culture at some of the world’s best museums.

Adding to our round-up of must-see shows in 2019, museums have now released their programming for the second half of the year, and it promises great things. Curators and their colleagues have pulled out all the stops to organize this fall’s blockbuster art shows. Here are 13 must-see exhibitions opening across Europe.

Caravaggio & Bernini” at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Caravaggio, David With the Head of Goliath, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. © KHM-Museumsverband.

WHAT: Two Italian heavyweights of the Baroque period go head-to-head in Vienna this fall when the city’s Kunsthistorisches Museum pairs paintings by Caravaggio with sculptures by Bernini. They are accompanied by a supporting cast of impressive international loans of fellow “Baroquestars” including Artemisia Gentileschi, Annibale Carracci, and Nicolas Poussin.

WHERE: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, Austria

WHEN: October 15, 2019–January 19, 2020


Lee Krasner” at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt

Lee Krasner, Icarus (1964). Thomson Family Collection, New York City. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, courtesy Kasmin. Gallery, New York. Photo: Diego Flores.

WHAT: After a critically acclaimed debut in London, this Lee Krasner survey heads to Frankfurt. The comprehensive exhibition includes early self-portraits from the late 1920s, nudes in char­coal, works from her renowned “Little Images” series, as well as classic works painted after the death of her husband, Jackson Pollock. The show, which is the first of its kind to come to Europe in over 50 years, confirms the female artist’s pioneering role in the development of Abstract Expressionism.

WHERE: Schirn Kunsthalle, Römerberg, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

WHEN: October 11, 2019–January 12, 2020


Pre-Raphaelite Sisters” at National Portrait Gallery, London

Evelyn De Morgan, <i>Night and Sleep </i> (1878). De Morgan Collection, courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation.

Evelyn De Morgan, Night and Sleep (1878). De Morgan Collection, courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation.

WHAT: This exhibition focuses on the often overlooked role of women in the male-dominated Pre-Raphaelite movement. (It wasn’t called the “brotherhood” for nothing.) Paintings, photographs, manuscripts, and personal items of 12 women who were central to the movement, including artists Evelyn de Morgan, Effie Millais, and Elizabeth Siddal will be on show. The exhibition aims to shed light on these remarkable women who were more than models and muses, but also artists in their own right.

WHERE: National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2H 0HE, UK

WHEN: October 17, 2019–January 26, 2020


Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now” at Tate Modern, London

Nam June Paik, TV-Garden (1974), © Estate Nam June Paik

WHAT: Tate Modern is mounting a survey show of the Korean-American artist Nam June Paik. In homage to Paik’s role as a pioneer in the use of TV and video in art, the show promises to turn the London galleries into a “mesmerizing riot of sights and sounds.” Featuring more than 200 works spanning the artist’s five-decade career, highlights include his renowned 1993 installation Sistine Chapel, as well as a nod to his partnerships with other avant-garde artists, poets, and musicians like John Cage.

WHERE: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

WHEN: October 17, 2019–February 9, 2020


Making Van Gogh” at Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait (1887). ©The Art Institute of Chicago, Joseph Winterbotham Collection.

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait (1887). ©The Art Institute of Chicago, Joseph Winterbotham Collection.

WHAT: The Städel Museum presents a major exhibition—the largest in its history—focused on the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, deep-diving into his pioneering role and his influence on German Expressionism at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from showing more than 50 works by Van Gogh and another 70 artworks by Modernist artists, “Making Van Gogh” will consider how German art dealers, collectors, critics, and museums helped bolster the troubled painter’s career.

WHERE: Städel Museum, Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

WHEN: October 23, 2019–February 16, 2020


Forms Larger and Bolder: Eva Hesse Drawings” at mumok, Vienna

Eva Hesse, No title, (1964), © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

WHAT: Eva Hesse’s rarely seen graphic works will be presented at mumok, Vienna’s museum of modern art, this winter. The show reflects the diversity of the American artist whose playful practice spanned surrealism to conceptual art. It’s set to be an expansive selection of works on paper, ranging from early figurative studies to abstract-expressive scribbles. The works are on loan from the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Ohio, where Hesse’s archive is also located.

WHERE: mumok, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, Austria

WHEN: November 16, 2019–February 16, 2020


Carlos Amorales – The Factory” at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Carlos Amorales, Orgy of Narcissus (2019), Courtesy of the artist, kurimanzutto, and Nils Stærk

WHAT: The first-ever retrospective exhibition in Europe of the work of Carlos Amorales will open this winter in Amsterdam. One of the most important contemporary artists in Mexico, Amorales started his career as a student of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Rijksakademiein in Amsterdam in the 1990s. The exhibition includes installations, paintings, and drawings, as well as animations and sound works.

WHERE:  Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

WHEN: November 23, 2019–April 26, 2020


Tell me about yesterday tomorrow” at the Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Munich

WHAT: The project “tell me about yesterday tomorrow” seeks to bring together contemporary art that deals with collective memory. Organized by the German curator Nicolaus Schafhausen, the former director of Kunsthalle Wein, more than 30 artists will react to complexities in German history, and present how social radicalization is a global issue. The exhibition will be held in the Documentation Centre in Munich, a city that was seen as the de facto capital of the Nazi movement after Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch brought him to wider attention. The documentation center is built on the site of the former “Brown House,” which was once the headquarters of the National Socialist party.

WHERE: Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Max-Mannheimer-Platz 1, 80333 Munich, Germany

WHEN: November 28, 2019–August 30, 2020


 “Albert Oehlen & Caroll Dunham – Trees” at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

Albert Oehlen, Ohne Titel (Baum 35) (2015). Photo: © Albert Oehlen

WHAT: The Kunsthalle Düsseldorf will show the US artist Carroll Dunham in dialogue with German artist Albert Oehlen, juxtaposing the two artists for the first time. Each will present their individual interpretations on the subject of trees, a motif that both have returned to repeatedly in their work. While Dunham’s movement-filled works tend to picture trees in bloom, Oehlen’s trees are leafless, with roots dominating the scene.

WHERE: Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Grabbeplatz 4, 40213 Düsseldorf, Germany

WHEN: November 30, 2019–March 8, 2020


Masterpieces from the Collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen: From Delacroix to Beckmann” at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Paul Cézanne, Village through the Trees (Marines), (1898), © Kunsthalle Bremen

WHAT: The collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany will be presented to a Spanish audience for the first time in a wide-ranging presentation spanning works from the Romantic era to Impressionism, late Impressionism, and Expressionism. Works by German Impressionists, such as Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth, will be shown alongside French Impressionists like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-August Renoir, giving an overview of the movement across different areas in Europe.

WHERE: Guggenheim Museum, Abandoibarra Etorb. 2, 48009 Bilbao, Spain

WHEN: October 25, 2019–February 16, 2020


Defiant Muses: Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives in France in the 1970s and 1980s” at Museo Centro de Arte, Madrid

Micha Dell-Prane, <i>Delphine Seyrig and Ioana Wieder holding a camera during a demonstration</i>, (1976). Courtesy of Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir

Micha Dell-Prane, Delphine Seyrig and Ioana Wieder holding a camera during a demonstration (1976), Courtesy of Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir.

WHAT: The Museo Centro de Arte in Madrid is paying homage to history’s “Defiant Muses” in a new show that will explore the legacy of feminist video collectives and the histories connecting cinema, video, and feminism in France. The show will include artworks, photographs, and archival documents that touch on the intersection between activism and feminism. Audiences will learn about the Lebanese-born French actor and film director Delphine Seyrig, an activist known for her idealized and sophisticated femininity. Together with other activist filmmakers on the French scene, Seyrig was instrumental in film becoming an emancipatory tool for the feminist movement.

WHERE: Museo Centro de Arte, Calle Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain

WHEN: September 25, 2019–March 23, 2020


Tiepolo” at Staatsgallerie Stuttgart

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Rinaldo im Zauberbann Armidas (1752), © Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung.

WHAT: To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, the Staatsgallerie Stuttgart is pulling out all of its impressive holdings of Tiepolo works. With additional loans of paintings, drawings and prints from all over the world, the show will cover an entire range of the career of the Venetian master.

WHERE: Staatsgallerie, Konrad-Adenauer-Straße 30-32, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany

WHEN: October 11, 2019–February 2, 2020


Leonardo da Vinci at the Musée du Louvre, Paris

Leonardo da Vinci, portrait of a woman known as La Belle Ferronnière (1490). Paris, Musée du Louvre. ©RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Michel Urtado.

WHAT: Despite fierce political tussling over agreed loans to the French museum from the Italian state, the Louvre’s Leonardo blockbuster is a go. Marking the 500th anniversary year of Leonardo’s death at Amboise in the Loire Valley, the museum is presenting five large paintings and 22 drawings by Leonardo in its collection (nearly a third of his entire body of work), along with an array of impressive international loans, including drawings from the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II.

WHERE: The Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

WHEN: October 24–February 24, 2020

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